Pro Bono & Community Service Initiative
Service at DePaul
"You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give." Winston Churchill
DePaul law students' commitment to volunteerism is impressive. DePaul law students consistently volunteer at over 90 legal and non-legal non-profit organizations and agencies throughout the Chicago area and beyond. Some sites include the Legal Assistance Foundation, Lifespan, the Domestic Violence Courthouse, First Defense Legal Aid, Illinois Legal Aid Online, Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing, Equip for Equality, and the Immigrant Youth Justice League. Additionally, each year nearly 100 students earn awards for pro bono and community service work. DePaul law students are on the forefront of the pro bono arena and social change.
There are many reasons to volunteer. The most compelling reason is to help others in need. But you should know that pro bono work has other benefits, too. It can help you develop essential lawyering skills. You can also gain hands-on experience interviewing and counseling clients and can hone your research and writing skills. Pro bono work can also help you develop an expertise in a substantive area of law. This “real world” experience is a great addition to any resume. Additionally, pro bono work is an opportunity to network with and meet practicing attorneys who may be helpful when searching for jobs.
Finally, engaging in pro bono as a law student is good practice. Attorneys have an ethical obligation to provide pro bono assistance to persons in need of legal services that they cannot afford. According to the American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 6.1, “Every lawyer has a professional responsibility to provide legal services to those unable to pay. A lawyer should aspire to render at least (50) hours of pro bono public legal services per year.” Law students actively engaged in pro bono work are well-prepared to meet this obligation, as they have already learned how to integrate and balance a pro bono practice into their busy schedules.